Wellington Scoop

Green candidates launch Hutt campaign

News from NZ Green Party
It was standing room only as Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Metiria Turei joined Rimutaka candidate Stefan Grand-Meyer and Hutt South candidate Susanne Ruthven at the Hutt Greens campaign launch at the Dowse on Thursday.

Mrs Turei was recently selected to stand for the Maori electorate of Te Tai Tonga, which extends from the middle of the Hutt Valley in the north to the islands beyond Stewart Island in the south.

“I’m looking forward to engaging with whānau across Te Tai Tonga on the issues most important to our people; ending child poverty and homelessness, ensuring there are good-paying jobs and protecting our natural environment,” said Mrs Turei.

The need to address those issues was reiterated by Stefan Grand-Meyer who said, “We need to urgently address social inequalities to ensure the resilience and sustainability of New Zealand society.

“Every day I see boarded up houses in Pomare, while there aren’t enough houses to meet demand and people resort to sleeping in their cars,” he said.

In October 2016 there were 200 social houses left vacant in the Hutt, the highest number in the Wellington region.

“The current government is ideologically opposed to addressing this issue. It is busy claiming responsibility for an economy that is supposedly performing well, but in reality it only benefits a few, and is achieved at huge environmental costs,” said Mr Grand-Meyer.

“Everyday New Zealanders are still waiting for their situations to improve. The country is facing a worsening social crisis with increasing homelessness rates, and National is selling social housing off.”

He said the Green Party have a realistic and achievable plan to tackle the issues.

“We want to build a better, safer New Zealand for everyone to enjoy. This includes our environment too.

“Unless we act now, extreme events like the storms that destroyed the Bridge Road bridge in Birchville are bound to increase in intensity and frequency.

“Shifting to a low carbon economy, investing in public transport and renewable energy, and building community resilience are key if we want to build a safe and sustainable future both for ourselves and our children.”

Susanne Ruthven spoke about her reluctance to enter politics, but her realisation that “sometimes you have to be in the system to fix the system”.

She says the filth in the Hutt River, people crying out for decent wages and people begging on the streets all illustrate a broken system.

“I’m a constitutional lawyer working beside Sir Geoffrey Palmer,” said Ms Ruthven. “The constitution is the system. My job is to safeguard our democracy which sits inside that broken system. It’s a tough job ¬- one that I can’t do well when the system is faulty.”